Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belong.” (Matthew 19:14)
The parish of St. Alphonsus Liguori welcomes children to take part in learning and celebrating the Mass. Please find helpful suggestions below on bringing your children to church and how others may offer support to families while encouraging children to take part and feel welcomed in the parish family.
Children's Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) Ministry
This ministry celebrates the lliturgy with children who have not yet received their First Communion. Parents and other adults are necessary for the program to occur twice a month (1st and 3rd Sundays) during 10:30 a.m. Mass. It requires prayer and song leaders, catechists and readers. If you are interested in helping out please contact the Director of Faith Formation by emailing email@example.com or call 317.873.2885 ext. 102
A Message from our Pastor
Our Parish is getting younger and it is exciting to see so many children at Mass. Attending Mass is something children learn to do with their families. It can be hard for children to understand why they have to quietly sit for an hour and not know what is going on. Remember that children learn “Mass etiquette” as they watch you. Take time before or after Mass to walk through the church and point out and explain different things such as the tabernacle, baptismal font, altar, and so on. If you attend the Sunday morning Masses, go for coffee and doughnuts after Mass so the children may socialize and get to know their parish family as well as their peers. For parishioners without children, greet other families, express joy at having the children at Mass and have patience as they grow as children of God. They are our future and they will learn their place in our faith family from us!
- Fr. O’Keeffe
• Babies who become fussy can often be comforted with the changing of positions or using a pacifier or bottle. (Only exit with a baby when he or she is inconsolable.)
• Often, parents find that standing and rocking the baby at the back of the church is all it takes. In that case, wear comfortable shoes!
• Do not feel it necessary to remove a cooing baby. Most often, people around enjoy the sweet sounds of the baby!
• Perhaps try “blocking off” an area for the baby to move around in by placing them between Mom and Dad, or one parent and the end of the pew.
Toddlers, Preschoolers and Pre-First Communicants
• Some families find that sitting near the front help children see. Others find that sitting toward the back, with an easy path to the door, is the best.
• Share the hymnal with children at their eye level.
• Quietly explain to your children what is happening during the Mass.
• Encourage children to place their own money or the family’s envelope in the collection basket.
• Babies “coo” and young children chatter. Unless they are very loud, keep them in church.
• Feel free to use the cry room, located in the glassed-in area at the back of the church.
• Encourage children to extend the sign of peace to those around them.
• Snacks should be avoided. Books that they enjoy or their own rosaries are encouraged.
And at home. . .
• Teach your children the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and other prayers used regularly at Mass.
• Make prayer an important family time. Let children offer their petitions too. Children are never too young to learn the “routine” of prayer, be it the rosary or bedtime prayers.
• Talk about the Mass at home, recalling stories or reading the bulletin together.
• Read the Bible, perhaps Sunday’s readings or another favorite story.
• Learn some hymns together and sing.
• Instill an attitude of Celebration on Sundays. Let Sundays be the days of rest, just as God intended them. Take the day to pray together and to play together!
The most important thing is to make the church a part of your child’s life. Bring your children to Mass, Adoration, confession and other social gatherings. Let them learn more about their “Home away from Home!” If you wait until they are adults it will be too late!
For adults with no children
It may be easy get distracted by children or mentally criticize another parent for not having better control of a situation. Before letting yourself feel disrupted by a young child, consider to offer support first. We want all members of our parish (both young and adults) to feel welcome. If you should feel that you are unable to concentrate around young children, try to understand how the parent of the little one may feel as they try their best to comfort their own and not to draw additional attention to themselves.
Some ideas to be supportive:
• Express joy at having children worship with us. Send a smile their way!
• Greet children as well as adults during the sign of peace and fellowship time.
• Pass the collection basket to children.
• Be understanding when parents need to take children out and then return to Mass.
• Have patience with the learning process; as we are all growing Children of God!